Winding down with music


By Sai Durga Gona

“I listen to music while driving to the competition and our team usually gives sometime to music to get energized before the match begins,” said Jade Addai, Criminology student and basketball player from University of Toronto, Mississauga.

The 21-year-old player has been part of the team for the past two years as a shooting guard. She has listened to ‘fergalicious by fergie’ before every game since grade 9 to boost herself. Addai believes that music helps them to set the right mindset before the competition and stir up the confidence to win.

Addai isn’t alone, many athletes feel that music plays an important role in every level. When they train, warm up and even during competition. They believe that music helps them to push the levels of anxiety and nervousness before the competition. Many studies show the benefits of music in every sport, however some experts believe there are some limitations too. They revealed the athletes should pay full attention to the use of music and it should be limited.

“Music is like routine and ritual for most of them. It helps you to relax and being able to focus on the sport when the stress is so high,” said Sandra Trehub, Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Mississauga

Trehub stated that the music limits the personal emotions and divert the mind from negative thoughts such as pain and fatigue. “Music will keep people in a happy medium and distract the terrible thoughts from your mind and enhances the positive aspects like energy and happiness,” she said.

Experts strongly believe that music is also helps to visualize the game before the competition begins. “Music increases the level of arousal and helps to visualize their game. It shows a great psychological affect on athletes,” said Trehub.

Visualizing what they do, really shows an impact on the brain functioning and make you plan things before hand.

“I listen to very upbeat, high tempo music, it gets me really focused and prepared for the game…hip hop, rap, stuff like that.”

– Theresa Brown, Sheridan College basketball player

Music can strengthen the bond between the athletes and while listening to music, it helps to arouse and excite the athletes in a positive way. “Athletes who have the same taste of music, feel connected to each other,” she says. The athletes are nicer, kinder and more co-operative with one another

Research shows that the playlist can really influence the mindsets of fellow athletes, if they don’t know really each other.

“The music that you like often tells a lot about your personality and not just your preferences,” she said.

Athletic chants are quite normal behaviour in teams. Every team has different chants. Research shows that these chants before and after sport, increases the connection between the athletes. “These chants helps to build positive thoughts like happiness and confidence among the athletes and these chants can be a song or anything,” Trehub explained.

Many athletes believe that music helps them to get ready before and after a competition. They listen to the faster tempo and strong beats to get warmed up, perform better and focus on the game

“I listen to very upbeat, high tempo music, it gets me really focused and prepared for the game…hip hop, rap, stuff like that,” said Theresa Brown, a 21-year-old, student and basketball player from Sheridan College in Brampton.

Not only does music keep the athletes motivated, but it has numerous functions for them as well.

Many studies show that music has a calming affect on them. It helps to calm the feelings of anger, anxiety and nerves that athletes experience after the game.

“If I lose, I listen to high tempoed music to calm myself . . . If we win, we will look for what went good and bad and also about our performances in the game,” said Camila Orellana Larach, a 21-year-old student and basketball player for Sheridan College in Brampton

Studies show that listening to self-selected music with faster beats helps to increase arousal, reaction speed while performing the sport and their emotional state.

“Most of my athletes listen to music before the match to de-stress themselves and it has a huge impact on them,” said Jim Flack, Director of Athletics and Recreation, Men’s Basketball Coach, Sheridan College.

Many researchers have found that the power of music has definitely some limits. Costas I. Karageorghis from Brunel University, UK, who did a lot of research on music and sports psychology mentioned in his journals stated that the listening to music without limitations may leads to distraction in the sport. He stated that there are times when trainers and coaches should avoid the use of music.

“When exercisers need to devote their full attention to a task, or when they are learning a demanding new skill, or when they are working at high intensity and need to pay full attention to their physical limits the use of music should be limited,” he said in his journal.

Karageorghis stated that the coaches and athletes must choose how selected tracks will be delivered before or during training or competition.

“If others are training nearby and might be disturbed by one’s music, it should be delivered via an MP3 player. If distraction is an important consideration, the volume at which music is played should be set quite high, but not high enough to cause discomfort or leave a ringing in the ears,” he said.

Sometimes, the coaches let the players to do meditation, sit silent and talk to their loved ones before the game, to calm down

“I never disturb my athletes for at least an hour before the game. I will give them their time, but keep an eye on everything,” said Flack.
Some of the athletes give preference to the silence instead of loud music.

“All of our girls listen to music! For me personally, as a coach I like to sit in complete silence to gather my thoughts,” said Sean Douglas, Women’s basketball head coach, Sheridan College.

Instead of music, for some players, a really good hot shower will definitely improve their focus and helps them to recover if they lose the match. “It will make you feel good and will keep your mind calm, so that you can focus on next game and realize your mistakes from the match,” said Jade Addai.

Some of the athletes prefer to eat their favourite food before the game begins to get the needed energy and to shift their focus to game.

Brown says she will eat her favourite foods including peanut butter, pasta, oranges to get the nutrition and energy needed to focus on her sport.

Athletes do dynamic warm up with the team before the sport to keep the blood flowing and it really helps a lot and studies show that the athletes indulge themselves in having a conversation with the team before and after the match to reduce their stress levels.

“I will just talk to myself in my head and get myself to calm down and prepare for the game,” said Orellana Larach

“My teammates will help me if I’m feeling down and will help them to give proper feedback from my game and maintain good communication with them.”

Stress is one important factor that haunt the athletes on daily basis. Some athletes tries to control their stress levels with music and some opts for meditation, Netflix and yoga

“If they win, they go out for team dinners to relax themselves post match. If they lose, they just go home and watch Netflix or just have a conversation with their loved ones over phone,” Flack said.

“We also have a lot of counselors and therapists with us especially for athletes who keep an eye on everyone and helps them to reduce stress and give support if they need,” he added.

Researchers revealed that the athletes while listening to music during their training or before or after the competition should be careful and keep it limited.

If the volume is above 75 or 100 dB during the physical activity especially exercise, when the blood pressure in the ear canal is elevated, it leads to minor temporary hearing loss

So, watch the volume!